October 10, 2019/Press

Tillis Again Reverses His Position to Support Trump, Even as GOP Criticize Trump’s “Sickening” Syria Policy

Raleigh – Spineless Senator Thom Tillis again reversed his position on a key policy – this time to support President Trump dangerous decision to abandon U.S. allies in Syria, a move met by a “swift torrent” of criticism over the decision. Less than a year ago, Tillis warned against a move to “prematurely withdraw” that “could lead to the resurgence of ISIS and provide a boost to Russia and Iran” – but then yesterday, he abandoned that stance to give “the president the benefit of the doubt.”

Tillis’ spineless comments come even as top generals and other Senate Republicans and Trump allies like Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham blasted the President’s Syria decision as “chaos” and a “disaster in the making” that “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime.”

Later in the same interview, when asked about the impeachment inquiry, Tillis again meekly demurred, saying, “I am going to leave it to the president.”

This is only the latest in an embarrassing trend for Tillis, who has infamously caved on his positions when they do not align with the president.

A new poll yesterday shows why Tillis still meekly goes along with Trump even as other Republicans start to speak out: he “continues to be quite unpopular” with “tepid numbers within his own party.” Data shows his approval rating 22 points underwater as he faces down a GOP primary challenge from Garland Tucker, who has already forced Tillis to spend half his campaign cash.

“If North Carolinians want to know where Thom Tillis stands, just check President Trump’s twitter feed,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Senator Tillis continues to find new, shameful lows for how weak and spineless a politician can be.”

Charlotte Observer: Tillis gives Trump ‘benefit of the doubt’ on Syria pullout, unlike many GOP lawmakers
By Jim Morrill
October 9, 2019

Key Points:

  • U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis said Wednesday he’s giving President Donald Trump “the benefit of the doubt” on his decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, breaking with fellow Republicans who’ve criticized the decision.
  • Tillis’s comments came hours after Turkey launched strikes against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.
  • The president announced his decision to withdraw troops in a tweet on Sunday. Since then, many Republican senators — including Trump allies such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — have condemned it.
  • Graham has called it “a disaster in the making.”
  • Tillis said while he’s concerned about the situation, “The president may be working on more information than I have.
  • “At this point I’m giving the president the benefit of the doubt,” he told reporters after a Union County farm event with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
  • Tillis was also asked if he believes it was all right for Trump to ask foreign governments for assistance investigating a political opponent.
  • “I am going to leave it to the president,” Tillis said, calling the House inquiry “a waste.”
  • In December Tillis warned about an early withdrawal.
  • “We need to make sure the withdrawal of America’s presence from Syria is done the right way, at the right time,” he said in a statement. “We cannot afford to repeat the mistake of the Obama Administration’s decision to prematurely withdraw from Iraq . . . Withdrawal from Syria at the current time could lead to the resurgence of ISIS and provide a boost to Russia and Iran.”
  • Tillis, who faces a Republican primary in his re-election bid, has embraced the president.
  • Polls have shown Tillis in trouble with some GOP voters. When he was introduced at Trump’s Fayetteville rally last month, some in the audience booed.

WFAE: As Other Republicans Criticize President On Syria, Tillis Supports Trump
By Steve Harrison
October 9, 2019

Key Points:

  • As Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish forces on its border with Syria on Wednesday, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis said he’s backing Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from the area.
  • “But at this point, I’m giving the president the benefit of the doubt,” Tillis said.
  • Other Republicans have criticized the president. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, typically a vocal Trump supporter, said the president’s plan was “delusional and dangerous.” He said the U.S. couldn’t abandon the Kurds, who helped the U.S. troops defeat the Islamic State.
  • Tillis was also asked by reporters about the House impeachment inquiry, and whether he thought it was appropriate for the president to ask a foreign country to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.
  • “I’m going to leave it to the president to make that decision,” he said.
  • Tillis, a first-term Senator, is running for re-election in 2020. He has a primary opponent, Garland Tucker, who says Tillis hasn’t fully supported the president.

CNN: GOP Sen. Thom Tillis: Impeachment inquiry is ‘a waste of resources’
By Caroline Kenny
October 9, 2019

Key Points:

  • Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina called the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump “a waste of resources” on Wednesday morning when asked if he had concerns about Trump’s public call for foreign governments to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
  • “I’m going to leave it to the President to make that decision,” Tillis told CNN on Wednesday morning.
  • He is among several potentially vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2020, many of whom had remained relatively quiet on the impeachment issue in recent days.
  • The President holds powerful sway over congressional Republicans, largely because he is wildly popular with the same Republican voters who will decide whether to reelect these lawmakers. Most who defy Trump end up out of office.
  • Tillis was also asked about Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from northern Syria in advance of a planned Turkish military offensive — a move many Republicans are speaking out against. Trump faced a barrage of criticism from within his own party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, about the decision.
  • “I am absolutely concerned with the situation in Syria, particularly with the work we’ve done with the coalitions to route ISIS, to basically destroy the caliphate in Syria,” Tillis said. “But at this point, I’ve given the President the benefit of the doubt. We’ll go back next week, we’ll be in, I’m sure we’ll have a classified briefing, and then I’ll have a better access to the facts that he may have used to make that decision.”